Employer Negligence Resulting to Construction Site Accidents

The Department of Labor knows the great risks construction workers are exposed to everyday, due to the heavy equipment, sharp and dangerous tools, great heights from where some workers are required to perform certain jobs, and their exposure to hazardous substances. Construction sites, in fact, still lead all types of workplaces in the number of accidents registered every year and, according to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the leading causes of construction-related injuries, illnesses and deaths are falls, being caught between objects (such as two heavy equipment), electrocution, and being struck by an object (like a falling tool) – the top four causes which has been called by OSHA as the “Fatal Four.”

There are other causes, of course, which have been identified by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of 1971, such as use of weak hoists and ladders, scaffoldings not properly assembled, lack of railings that would protect workers from roof and building edges, and so forth.

The duty of ensuring safety and health in the workplace is placed by OSHA under the care of employers. But besides this major and primary responsibility, employers are also required to make sure that only qualified employees are hired, that safety gears and made available and that these are properly worn in work areas, that standard safety equipment are situated in designated places and that safe working practices are always observed, and that workers are given proper training, especially about the use/operation of dangerous tools and equipment.

An employer who negligently fails to perform his/her responsibilities in ensuring and maintaining a healthy and safe working environment for all employees can be charged with violation of the safety standard laws and may be made to face a lawsuit in the event of an accident.

A worker, who sustains any work-related injured, on the other hand, can file a claim with the workers’ compensation board for the financial assistance meant to cover his/her lost wages, cost of medical treatment, and others.

Often, applications for a claim get denied either by the employer or by the board itself. Making an appeal is the legal right of the injured worker, though, something that he cannot be denied or deterred from doing. To help ensure that an application contains all the necessary documents and is submitted within the statute of limitations (allotted time for submission which has been set by the state), it is best that the injured is helped and represented by a legal professional, specifically a Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer.

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